Authorship of 1 Peter:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” is the introduction to the first epistle of Peter. Normally, historians would take Peter to be the author of this letter since he is identified as the writer in the very first verse. Skeptics who take Paul’s letters as authentic accept his authorship since he identifies himself in most of his letters. Silvanus is employed as an amanuensis to help assist Peter in writing his epistle (1 Peter 5:12). Silvanus was also a Roman citizen according to Acts 16:37. He also was associated with the early church as we see in Acts. Assuming Peter is the author, 1 Peter was most likely written during the reign of Nero since he warns of persecution, so around mid-60s AD.
Authorship of 2 Peter:
The author is identified again as “Simeon Peter, and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Simon is spelled with a Semitic style, which implies that Peter himself wrote the letter. This doesn’t follow that he didn’t have help with the letter however. This is where the controversy comes on with 2 Peter since it’s clear he had help from Silvanus in 1 Peter. Skeptics will point this out to be evidence against Peter as the author of second Peter. To the contrary, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria accept Peter as the author. Assuming Peter as the author, 2 Peter would be written the same time as 1 Peter, but chronologically after. Both letters were most likely written from a prison cell since 2 Peter 1:14 implies that he will pass soon. Peter died probably around AD 67 during the reign of Nero, so both letters would be written before that.
Attacks against the reliability of 2 Peter:
Objection #1: Peter used Jude as a source, but Peter would have died before Jude would have been written.
Reply: It’s easier plausible that Jude could have used 2 Peter as a source if this document is earlier. This objection becomes circular if they do not bring in evidence that 2 Peter used Jude as a main source.
Objection #2: The Greek usage and vocabulary could not be used from a fisherman like Peter. Also, the author must be familiar with Greek culture.
Reply: Peter knew Silvanus, who was a Roman citizen, so it’s plausible that he knew Greek and helped Peter, since he did with 1 Peter. Silvanus may have helped again and not need to mention his name. Also, who is to say that Peter didn’t know Greek? This is a claim that has to be shown as true. It’s also possible that Peter had help from scribes that did not indicate themselves in the letter. Peter would have been young as a fisherman, so it’s also possible for him to have learned Greek after his post resurrection experience. A post resurrection experience would be a good motivation to learn Greek and write about the Gospel.
Objection #3: The false teachers identified are second Century Gnostics, so Peter could not have written 2 Peter in the second century.
Reply: This is a claim that is never shown to be the case, but rather asserted. Gnostics posited Cosmological Dualism, rejected the material world, and had defective theology of Christ. 2 Peter does not contain any themes like these.
Objection #4: Paul’s Letters are considered scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). The canon is confirmed after Peter’s life.
Reply: 2 Peter 3:15-16 does not indicate that all of Paul’s letters were collected as Canon. Peter would have believed that some of Paul’s letters were authentic since he knew Paul’s experience and life. Peter knows some of Paul’s letters, so would have believed them to be authentic.
Objection #5: Church fathers do not quote 2 Peter and its canonicity was under attack in the fourth century.
Reply: Peter is claimed to be the author (2 Peter 1:1). Peter claims his death is very near (2 Peter 1:14). Matched up with dating of 1 Peter since Peter died under Nero’s rule. Also, claims to have seen Jesus’ transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18). The author here seems to know the life of Peter, probably because it is Peter. Also, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria accept Peter as the author, as mentioned before. Finally, the author can easily be falsified, which adds to the credibility for Peter as author. The Church fathers would have falsified 2 Peter if they knew it was a forgery like they did with many Gnostic texts.
Apologetics Study Bible
Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised Edition 12
Often times when discussing the Historical Jesus, some skeptical scholars are quick to make the claim that Jesus was nothing more than an apocalyptic prophet. That the development of his nature from the Gospel of Mark to the Gospel of John is solid evidence for this; Jesus didn’t really claim to be God. However, this isn’t the case at all. In fact, we can find the divinity of Jesus all throughout the Gospel of Mark alone! Let’s examine the case:
Jesus Can Forgive the Sins of All
In Mark 2:5, Jesus tells the paralyzed man that “his sins are forgiven”. Immediately after, in verse 6, it says, “some experts in Moses’ teachings were there” and “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”. Jesus then responds, “I want you to know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Jesus Is the Lord of the Sabbath
It is very clear in the early chapters of the book of Genesis and all throughout the book of Exodus that God created the Sabbath and he is the Lord of it. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that in the same chapter that Jesus forgives sins, he also makes this bold claim in Mark 2:28: “The Son of Man is even the Lord of the Sabbath.”
Jesus Controls the Weather
During Mark 4:35-41, the disciples and Jesus are on a boat when suddenly a huge storm hits them. They ask Jesus to help them, and in Mark 4:39 he commands the wind and the sea to calm; which they do. Then the disciples ask themselves in Mark 4:41, “Who is this, that even the the wind and the waves obey Him!” Well, there is an answer throughout the entirety of the Old Testament that would answer this question: Who is this? God, who they thought controlled the weather. But let’s focus on one specific passage, found in the book of Exodus. Exodus 14:21 says, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord caused the sea to go back and a strong wind to divide them.” So the Lord controls the wind and the sea, just like Jesus. No wonder the disciples were freaked out.
Jesus Transfigured with the Highest of Prophets
In Mark 9:2-13, Jesus and a couple of his disciples go on top of a mountain, where he is then transfigured. Suddenly, the disciples look, and the transfigured Jesus is having a conversation with Moses and Elijah (who ‘coincidentally the “Angel of the Lord” appeared to both in the Old Testament; the Angel of the Lord being the preincarnate Christ). Now, this doesn’t exactly prove Jesus was God in Mark alone, but it does show that Mark thought very highly of Jesus early on.
Jesus, the Unique Son of God at the Right Hand of Power
After Jesus is arrested, He is on trial before the Sanhedrin. One of them asks, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus replies, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” They then charge Him with blasphemy. This passage is very important. Here is a list of verses in the Old Testament where God is the cloud-rider: Psa. 68:33, Deut. 33:26, 2 Sam. 22:11, Psa. 18:10, Isa. 19:1, and Psa. 104:3. Also, Jesus is referring to the Son of Man who rides the clouds in Daniel 7. Last, we have Him sitting at the right hand of Power, which puts Jesus at a pretty high position.
In conclusion, despite the claims of many, we can in fact find many pieces of evidence that the earliest Gospel, Mark, spoke highly on the divinity of our “Lord and God” (John 20:28) Jesus.